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Active Brodit Car Kit - Custom Installation

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KruseLudsMobile
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Talking Active Brodit Car Kit - Custom Installation

After going through several lousy car mounts with dangling cigarette lighter wires and suction cups popping off the windshield and dashboard I had had enough of this *(&*^&*&^(*)(%$%$#. Time to put on a professional looking permanent installation!

After much research I came upon a solution for my AT&T Tilt. I have an older Taurus which does not have any external (even in the back of the radio) connectivity for audio inputs, so I decided against making changes to integrate the sound between the tilt and the car (but I did want the unit's batteries charged in the mount). Note all powered car mounts need a small transformer, which in many of the versions out there in the marketplace are oin the mount itself, which makes it very bulky. I preferrred one that comes with a separate transformer which can be hidden. I also wanted the PDA up near the windshield so I would not have to look far away from the road while driving, which I consider dangerous - but did not want to have some huge clunky thing sticking up in the middle of the dash - I wanted it as small and unobtrusive as possible. The only mount specifically designed for snapping into place on my model car my car (www.proclipusa.com) actually put the mount on the console down near the shifter between the seats so that was not very useful either. I had decided upon the active Brodit car mount as I wanted to be able to open the keyboard while the unit is in the mount, and wanted to be able to move the mount any which way without worrying if the mount would come loose. This car kit is minimal in size and has a separate transformer which can be hidden as well. With all the above caveats there was nothing else on the market that was handy, unobtrusive, and didn't end up with a lousy plug for the lighter to power the unit (yech). So, here was my solution (7 photos attached). All the parts shown can be purchased at www.proclipusa.com.

Photo #1: Dashboard showing my situation (this was actually part way through the installation, you can see the transformer hanging down under the steering wheel, I just stuffed it up out of view when I was finished with the work).

Photo #2: Fuse Box Connections (under the steering wheel by the firewall). Note all I did was pull the cover off the fuse box, pull the 20 amp fuse out, and wrap the red positive lead around one of the prongs of the fuse which I just stuck in place later. I will probably buy an in-line fuse and put it on the red wire later. (I used the 20 amp fuse for the ignition for the ignition which is only powered while the car is running - I wanted this for the mount's transformer so as not to wear down the battery when the car is not in use). The black lead only has to go to the ground in the car so you can see I was just starting to wrap it around the nut holding the fusebox in place, which is grounded.

Photo #3: Note - all powered car mounts need a small transformer, which in many of the versions out there in the marketplace are on the mount itself, which makes is very bulky. I preferrred one that comes with a separate transformer which can be hidden. So with everything wired up and installed, I hid the wire (and transformer below) andnothing is in view but the wire for the brodit mount going up to the dash. Also note the block attached to the dashboard - to the left of the steering wheel. Easily visibly by the driver, and not destroying the look of the dash in the middle of the car. This block was still too horizontal but it is very solidly connected to the dashboard on the left of the driver's seat, up near the windshield but neatly out of the way. No windshield obstruction whatsoever!

Photo #4: I mounted a second block on top of the first to improve the angle. Note the center two holes which were added for screws to connect the two block and still leave the surface of the second block flat for the brodit mount. It not only made the installation rock solid, but I decided to improve that even further by replacing the two screws on the bottom first block and putting longer screws on the bottom going through both blocks. (I did not want to glue the second block onto the first because that way I would have no way of removing the screws holding the first block in place later - and glue comes undone.) This thing is rock hard - not going anywhere. Most other car mounts get loose over time and with just a little wiggling end up coming off. Not this baby! Won't even wiggle!

Photo #5: Brodit mount screwed onto the top block. Beautiful! Swivels 360% around and tilts every which way. The screw in the center of the mount can be tightened slightly so that the mount only moves if you really try to move it using definite force. Nothing at all loose here - rock solid! (Also note, this mount can be swapped for another brodit mount fitting any PDA on the market, just by loosening that center screw!) Note the two circled areas. They are tiny plastic adhesive wire holders which can be purchased at any hardware store to keep the wires where you want them...

Photo #6: Vertical use with AT&T Tilt - (see white circle - being charged)!

Photo #7: Horizontal use with AT&T Tilt - note you can easily slide the keyboard open - (see white circle - still being charged)!
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- R. Kruse Ludington

Current: Galaxy Note III Black; Previously: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Droid X, HTC HD2, HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Tilt, HTC 8525, O2 XDA II, O2 XDA
 
floho
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dude, looks sweet. What are you doing this coming weekend? Can you work on my car?
 
omaralt
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this is really awesome! the only thing is that i hope ur left handed
 
KruseLudsMobile
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Exclamation Left handedness

I don't think left or right-handedness is a factor - when driving on the highway you cannot really touch any of the tiny software buttons on the screen to use the thing anyway - too dangerous. However, the external hardware buttons - I don't think most people have to use their predominant hand to press a hardware button... If that was the case then most drivers in europe (with the right side steering wheel) wouldn't be able to use the radio unless they were left handed?
- R. Kruse Ludington

Current: Galaxy Note III Black; Previously: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Droid X, HTC HD2, HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Tilt, HTC 8525, O2 XDA II, O2 XDA
 
Mike Philippens
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Don't you find it very difficult to put the Tytn2 into the Brodit holder? I have one too, but I find it very cumbersome. I have to fiddle with it a couple of times before I get it in properly (onto the USB connector). Previously I had the Brodit holder for my MDA Vario and that went in with my eyes closed.
My guess is that the bad fit is caused by the big empty space between the back of the device and the holder (for big batteries?). If Brodit was to make something to fit in there so that you have some kind of reference when you insert the device, it would be better. The way it is now, it is only irritating me in the morning...
 
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Smile Sliding it in

I find I do have to adjust it ever so slightly to get it seated correctly. However, I believe it is better to have the space so that:

1. The unit will fit with any size battery
2. The GPS signal is not weakened
- R. Kruse Ludington

Current: Galaxy Note III Black; Previously: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Droid X, HTC HD2, HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Tilt, HTC 8525, O2 XDA II, O2 XDA
 
Mike Philippens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KruseLudsMobile View Post
I find I do have to adjust it ever so slightly to get it seated correctly. However, I believe it is better to have the space so that:

1. The unit will fit with any size battery
2. The GPS signal is not weakened
I doubt the GPS signal is weakened less by the plastic being an inch further away. And I don't know where the actual antenna is. If it's there where the connector is, it's no problem. That one is clear from the holder.

Also, it's a contradiction to have both the holder and a fat battery. I'm in my car for an hour or two every day (sometimes longer). Long enough to keep the battery loaded. The engineers of Brodit could have thought of an insert so that the space is filled. If you have a fat battery, remove the insert.

I'm not a clumsey person. My previous device slipped in the Brodit holder like it came of the same mould. This one is next to impossible to do without looking very careful, which is not easy in the dark. It's also part fault of the device manufacterers. My old Nokia phone had special idents at the bottom which gripped into the carkit. They don't do that anymore. They seem to think that because of BT you keep the device in your pocket. Such a shame...
 
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Cool Reception

There is one thing I do have to say about your last response - the reception woulod be affected if there were no space there. The GPS antenna is in the back and that part of the holder is completely metal.
- R. Kruse Ludington

Current: Galaxy Note III Black; Previously: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Droid X, HTC HD2, HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Tilt, HTC 8525, O2 XDA II, O2 XDA
 
Mike Philippens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KruseLudsMobile View Post
There is one thing I do have to say about your last response - the reception woulod be affected if there were no space there. The GPS antenna is in the back and that part of the holder is completely metal.
Yeah, but the antenna is on the top part of the device (where the external GPS antenna plug is). And that is the part that is nog covered by the holder. ie: it sticks out. So I doubt if the reception would be hampered by the holder if there wasn't a space.
 
KruseLudsMobile
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(Last edited by KruseLudsMobile; 2nd February 2008 at 10:38 PM.)
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Thumbs up Reported experience after extensive use (as promised) - daily for 2 1/2 weeks

As promised here is my experience after extensive use. Promise to try to keep the rambling to a minimum.

Sections below -

A. Four warnings - all on safety
B. Stylus Access/Battery Usage
C. GPS/Battery Usage
D. Position of the Mount
E. Gap on the Mount
F. Sliding in and out of the holder
G. Mount closer or further away from the driver; more dangerous? More convenient? -
H. Mount Location legality?

--------------------------

A. Three warnings - all on safety:
1. The extra cabling and transformer that I had just stuffed up behind other wires near the fusebox near the foot pedals - fell out and was hanging down - not very safe - but fortunately it did not happen while I was driving. Good note to people installing anything in their car - be sure everything mounted anywhere near where your hands and feet go while driving - is very securely mounted!
2. DO NOT USE the screen for anything but GPS display - even if you are using voice recognition software (as you need to then look at the screen) unless using only to make phone calls.
3. Note "B." below. I advise AGAINST trying to use a stylus while you are driving. VERY EASY to get into an accident.
4. NEVER, EVER, EVER leave the unit in the cradle - or even anywhere in the car - when you are out of the car for any length of time at all. Some people say even having their cars broken into because a thief saw the mount and thought the unit may be in the glove compartment.

B. Stylus Access/Battery Usage - I have seen only one holder (not this one) that includes a separate slot for an extra stylus to use while the Kaiser is in the car mount. This one does not include that - BUT - you can STILL pull out the stylus easily even when the unit is in the mount - handy. BTW, GPS programs really do such the life out of these batteries, don't they? At least with this mount it is charging it with enough juice to overcome the GPS drain (I have seen older (non-Kaiser) PDAs that drain juice faster than they get charged when in a indoor powered cradle nonetheless!). I don't know if that ability to charge even when a lot of power is being consumed by the unit is due to the charger or the version of the PDA itself. Anyone want to run some tests with different mount/cradle/PDA/software combinations?

C. GPS/Battery Usage - I won't get into a heavy discussion about GPS software in this thread because I don't want it to go off on a tangent. Suffice it to say the unit is often off track by about 25-50 feet at the max (usually about 25 feet) when I have a signal - but the GPS sure does use alot of juice, doesn't it? It seems like if you get into the car with a unit that has a somewhat low battery charge and use the GPS in the holder (while charging if the ignition is on of course - that's the way you should wire it) the PDA battery still does get recharged - but much more slowly. Funny thing is, that is not even an issue because I usually would not use the GPS unless I am driving longer distances anyway. If the battery is really low and I don't need the GPS (most trips) I will just set the unit to sleep or even turn the unit off altogether (phone included) and put it into the mount when I get in the car - for even a very short drive the battery really charges very quickly with this mount (yeah :) ). How about a car mount with a slot in the back for an extra battery? That would be nice...

D. Position of the Mount -I could have possibly used another angled block. I find myself sometimes trying to tilt the mount ever so slightly more than it can go (so the screen is more vertical). However, that is a very minor isue and at this point not work making any modifications. (I may change my mind later, however - if so, I will supply more photos or update the original sticky post here.)

E. Gap on the Mount - Gap that people have been talking about behind the unit (between the back of the unit and the mount) - that does not bother me so much as the fat connector at the bottom of the unit - which is somewhat unsightly and larger than it needs to be. It does block my headlight switches - but I never need to look at those switches anyway.

F. Sliding in and out of the holder - this is an issue but a very minor one. I find that about 10-15% of the time when I slide it into place it is not mounted correctly and I have to pull it out and try to slide it in again. I suppose if there was no gap as specified in "E." above then it would slide into place 100% of the time with no problem. Although I believe it is meant to allow people with extended (larger) batteries to also use the unit - since it is always powered while I am driving the car - I rarely need to charge my batteries anyway. I was going to get an extended battery - but I really have no need to - most of the time I am at the office, at home, or in the car. In each of those three places I have a charger. I also keep a charger in my briefcase so when I go from office to office for meetings etc. I always have a charger nearby anyway...

G. Mount closer or further away from the driver; more dangerous? More convenient? - wouldn't drivers be more tempted to check email, etc. if it was really close to the driver?

H. Mount Location legality? - Isn't it a rule in the US that the windshield cannot be blocked at all (in my case it isn't) - even though the rule may be loosely or rarely enforced - isn't that what the suction cups on windshields do? Anybody get a ticket because of that? Or is the rule about partial blockage? Is this a state or nationwide regulation, what are the rules for that in Europe? ( I am in the US in NJ...)
- R. Kruse Ludington

Current: Galaxy Note III Black; Previously: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Droid X, HTC HD2, HTC Touch Pro 2, HTC Tilt, HTC 8525, O2 XDA II, O2 XDA

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